May 22, 2015

A Millennial Commuter's Survival Tips

I am stuck in morning traffic. The truck in front of me is dropping pebbles on my car. The guy next to me looks like he wants to kill someone. I am frustrated. It's just another day on Miami roads.  

For those of you who commute to work every day, you have my sympathy. The Miami Herald just published a four-part series on commuting. It even profiled some extreme commuters. The upshot: commuting stinks but lots of people do it anyway. 

Today, my guest blogger is Zachary Sisco, a Communications Associate at TINYpulse. Zachary shares his experience striking a work/life balance while juggling a substantial commute. He recounts the perils, struggles, and delights of beginning a job as a commuter. He also shares the little inventive tricks he learned for making his commute more enjoyable.

Here is his perspective as a millennial commuter:


About a month ago, I received a job offer from TINYpulse, a passionate team on a mission to boost Zacharyemployee engagement (you can check us out here). Upon graduating I had spent months editing cover letters, filling out applications, and going on interviews. Finally things were lining up. The job was right, the culture was perfect, and I’d have the added benefit of going home each day knowing I’d done something good for the world. I accepted the job with little thought and slept well that night.

I don’t recall exactly when the reality of it hit me, but there was a big loose-end I had left untied. I now had a full-time job in Seattle. Somehow then, it seemed problematic that I had no place to live in Seattle. It’s not that I ever had the threat of homelessness looming over me. I’m blessed with a wonderful, supportive network of family in the area. But that was the problem: this network was all around Seattle. Not one of them actually lived in Seattle. I had without much thought committed myself to a substantial commute. And thus my tale begins…

Now the daily commute comes in many forms. Some spend an hour navigating a ballet of tail-lights. Some while away their time staring at the back of strangers heads on a train. For me after arranging to stay with family on Bainbridge Island, I joined the Cult of the Ferry.

The Cult of the Ferry

No, it’s not the cyanide in the punch kind of cult. It’s more like the cult that all Jeep owners belong to. There’s a silent community among ferry riders. It’s never spoken, but everyone on the ferry knows that we’re all in this together. For 80 minutes a day that’s literal. But it goes beyond that. We all know the same struggles that the ferry and commuting brings. It’s a neat feeling actually. But that’s just an aside.

Currently I ride a bus to get to the ferry, then one to get from the ferry terminal to work. I rinse, lather and repeat. My best-case scenario day is 12 hours from door-to-door. But that involves leaving work a little early, catching the perfect bus, and running a few blocks. More often, that number is 13 and another obligation can push it back as far as 15! Quite frankly, it’s exhausting. 

My Little Tricks

No two commutes are exactly alike, so everyone’s little tricks are going to be different. But there are a few pearls of wisdom that I can offer. Anyone should be able to apply these to their commuting experience to tip the work/life balance back in their favor.

Use Your Downtime - Whatever form your commute may take, you’re going to have downtime. It’s entirely too easy to let this slip by the wayside. But this time need not be wasted. If you’re navigating the tail-light ballet, why not put in an audio-book? If you’re really ambitious then maybe a language learning tape is more your speed. Personally, I’m a big fan of reading. If you see me on the ferry in the morning, chances are I have a newspaper in my hand. In the evening I’m turning pages in a novel.

Love the Little Things - This’ll vary for everyone so I’ll just give a few examples from my experience.  First is the ferry-ride...beautiful! Even on a cloudy day, you can adore the slowly approaching Seattle skyline. On a sunny day, Mt. Rainier pops into view and sitting on the deck of the boat is a must. Second, is my bus driver. It’s a tiny thing, but my morning bus is driven by the most wonderfully cheery man. Just greeting him as I pay my fare lifts my spirits a little.

 Treat Yourself - Even if you follow all this advice, the truth remains...commuting is just not that great. So be sure to occasionally splurge on yourself. Buy some candy. And if you ride the ferry, they sell over-priced beer. Don’t make it a habit, but a little here and there goes a long way.

 

To you Commuters

I’m new to commuting. But the last month has given me a little taste of what many people do permanently. To those who do my hat goes off to you. Some of you, I’m sure, are superheros who can rise at 4 am with ease. But for the rest of you the true significance of it needs to be acknowledged. If you’re commuting, your days are long and exhausting. And for many, that’s not the end of your day. Utilizing downtime and the other tips I listed can help. But ultimately, the decision whether or not to commute is substantial. When making it, seriously consider the value of your time and energy.

 

 

 You can connect with Zachary by email at zachary@tinypulse.com or via twitter: @zacharysisco1

 

December 30, 2014

Feeling The Workplace Malaise? You're Not Alone

This is the time of year that some of us feel workplace malaise. We feel like we should be out partying or vacationing and instead we're at work and we're not really thrilled with our workplaces. My guest blogger today is Amy Chen, communications manager for TINYpulse, a tool that offers leaders a way to keep a light, ongoing pulse on how happy, frustrated,or burnt out employees are before retention sinks. It also gives employees a way to be engaged and to give feedback to their leaders without fear of retaliation. Amy, a millennial, shares her personal experiences in the workplace and gives some insight into why employers would want to keep their workers happy.

 

 

AmyWhen I stepped away from my second startup, business was great, but I wasn’t. After founding and building two companies, I was unmotivated and burned out. I used to think that all I needed to be professionally fulfilled was to be part of growing a successful business. But personal experience showed me it just wasn’t enough.

 

It was one of the reasons I became part of TINYpulse. I wanted to give managers a way to directly measure what motivated and energized their employees, and what was frustrating and burning them out.

 

So, imagine my surprise when we started exploring the nature of sentiment in our Employee Engagement & Organizational Culture Report and I discovered those same feelings I had years ago are hitting today’s workplaces just as hard. Here are just some of the damning pieces of evidence we uncovered:

 

 64% of employees do not feel they have a strong work culture

 

 66% of employees do not feel they have opportunities for professional growth in their organizations

 

 Only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work

 

 49% of employees are not satisfied with their direct supervisor

 

I was shocked to see such poor numbers around engagement. With so much information in the business press about the links between workplace satisfaction and retention, innovation, and bottom line growth, I expected a greater investment in organizational culture. Our report’s findings show this is simply NOT happening.

 

Luckily, there is a simple, 3-step process any organization can take to turn lackluster cultures into positive, thriving environments:

 

1. Learn what your employees are thinking: Pulsing employee engagement surveys, like the TINYpulse survey tool, are effective ways to get real-time insights into employee sentiment. With just one question sent every week, managers can see quickly and easily how employees are feeling.

 

2. Share any and all feedback: While it might be uncomfortable, sharing survey feedback with the team is critical to keeping the team invested in the process. Sharing both the positive and negative comments shows your team you are actually listening.

 

3. Create an action plan with that knowledge: It’s not enough to know the problem. You need to create a plan to tackle it. This is what ultimately changes your workplace for the better, and it shows your employees you are truly invested in their well being.

 

Sometimes, I think our clients say it best. When I asked Amy Balliet, Co-Founder and CEO of Killer Infographics, a Seattle marketing agency, why she uses surveys, she got straight to the heart of the matter. “As a creative agency, it’s paramount that our team can let their imagination run wild. Surveying our employees with TINYpulse gave us insight into process issues that, if left unattended, would have easily hampered our team’s ability to come up with some of the great ideas that have delighted our customers.”

 

Balliet also makes a great point about her company’s commitment to action. “We hold TINYpulse meetings every Friday at the same time, so that we can go over feedback as a team and discuss solutions. This allows us to unearth larger problems at times, quickly solve small problems, and keep the team working together towards the greater good."

 

If you’re ready to turn your workplace stagnation around, consider leveraging employee surveys in 2015. You might just find those employees who were considering changing jobs in the new year will be ready to stick around a bit longer.

June 26, 2014

How to love your job

Lovemyjob

 

Most of us are taught that if we want work life balance, we must be super efficient at work so that we can spend more time doing the things we love outside our workplaces. That implies that work is a chore that we need to slog through as quickly as possible to enjoy life outside the office.

But that doesn't have to be true.

My guest blogger today, Jim Buchanan, looks at work life balance from a different perspective. Buchanan, who has 40 years of global business experience,  is author of a new guide “Winning Customer Love.” In it, he presents business principles based on the Universal Law of Attraction that help leaders instill positive feelings amongst their diverse employees.

 

Jim-009-225x300Here Jim Buchanan's take on work life balance:

Many of us think about work-life balance as simply managing the hours we spend at each.  I think this is important and worthy of our attention, but I actually have a different question to consider: Don’t we need to give much more attention to the quality of the hours spent at our work? 

I believe that if the quality of the time spent at work were more fulfilling for us, we would at least feel a greater sense of accomplishment and “time well spent”.  This would reduce some of the pressure to simply find ways to work less, and live more.  Why can’t “working” and “living” be a much more seamless continuum, rather than two opposing forces? 

Call me a dreamer, but here is how I believe it can be done, by anyone:

1. We should love our work, our job, and our employer.  If we don’t, we should move on to something we do love.  Doing what we love will bring out the best in us every day and will position us to make a big, positive impact on others and the world.  I wish that I had done this years ago, and at various turning points in my, mostly corporate, career, which spanned nearly forty years.  Don’t focus on the money, or the prestige, or the “stuff” you can get by advancing in your career.  Focus on doing what you love, on what you are really passionate about.  You’ll be surprised at how often everything else falls into place.

 

2. We should give love to our colleagues and co-workers in the form of help, support, caring, compassion and encouragement.  This will help them perform at their best, and perhaps love what they do as well.  It will also help to create a work environment that is filled with love and caring for one another.  I know this may be difficult when we work with disagreeable people who do not demonstrate these behaviors.  But, as you know, we get back what we give out to others so would you like to receive help and support and caring or anger, selfishness and criticism?  It is your choice.

3. No matter the role we play in our job, we should give love to our customers and to the community at large.  Love to customers in the form of beautiful products and services; great value for their money; empathy before, during and after the sale; sincere gratitude for every visit and purchase; and an everlasting commitment to doing it all better and better each day.  Love to the community in the form of volunteer time and resources supported by your employer.  Giving love outside of your business or company will cause love to come back and help make the business more successful, and the world a better place.

 

So, I see the challenge of attaining work, life balance as twofold.  Certainly, we need to manage the hours we spend at each.  But we also need to balance the quality of the time spent at each.  Since we so highly value love in our lives, don’t we need love in our work to achieve true balance?

May 31, 2014

Surviving end-of-school-year madness

If I had to bet, I would say that by now, most working parents are exhausted. As we get down to the end-of-the-school year, celebrations and activities are coming fast and furious. Can you find time and energy to always be there...physically and mentally? Here's why you might feel swamped: Because of a rising interest in rituals, ceremonies have proliferated, marking nearly every life transition—from preschool to college graduation—and making each the focus of festivities. As a result, families face a long list of must-attends including class parties, award ceremonies, tournaments, recitals, picnics and banquets. They happen all in the few weeks leading up to summer, making this time of year the busiest season of all for many households. I just have to look at the Facebook posts to see how my friends are bouncing from one event to the next. Fortunately, I have some flexibility at my job to attend my kids end of school year activities because I work from home. Sadly, many parents do not have flexibility or understanding bosses. Many of us working parents beat ourselves up for not getting to all of these events. It’s especially awful when our kids really want us there, points out mommy blogger Wendy Sachs. Remember, this is the time to use your goodwill bank -- call in those favors you've done for other parents at work or at school to get some help with the driving. If you can't stay for the entire class party or recital, make sure you speak to your child about the portion you observed: something like, "I enjoyed watching because you were concentrating so well.'' If it's an event you absolutely don't want to miss, offer a solution to your boss or client -- something like "I will come in early tomorrow to tackle that project if I can leave for a few hours mid- day today? " How are you handling the end-of-year madness? Do you find your workplace gives you the flexibility to attend school activities? If not, are you resentful?

February 26, 2014

What really keeps employees engaged at work?

Do perks keep you engaged at work? Do good managers? How about the people you work with? Trying to figure out the secret formula is critical for companies because only a mere 30 percent of the US workforce is engaged and putting in extra effort at work. Today in my Miami Herald column I attempted to give employers some guidance at at time when so many of them are clueless. I'd love to hear from you, what motivates you to give your job your all? 

Great place

 

When it comes to employee engagement, career coaching beats a free lunch

It has become one of the most perplexing workplace questions of the century for businesses worldwide: How do you keep employees engaged and emotionally invested in their jobs?

Some employers have taken the free lunch approach.

At her workplace, Deborah Beetson can count on catered lunch once a month and regular bagel breakfasts. She also can invite clients to the wine bar at her West Palm Beach office. Those are just some of the perks that have landed her employer, DPR Construction, on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work.

But, Beetson says it is not the wine bar, free meals or even the bring-your-dog-to-work days that keep her engaged. “The perks are there to make it a fun place to be, but if you don’t believe leadership cares about you and values your opinion, then perks lose their meaning.”

Offer employees free lunch and you will see a stampede into the lunchroom. But ask those same workers if they feel engaged and you will discover perks are not enough to keep them loyal or inspire them to put in extra effort on the job. “Perks can attract people and make them feel content, but they won’t get employees to a high level of engagement,” says Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being.

Some consider the lack of employee engagement an epidemic. Despite more awareness, the low rate of engagement hasn't budged in more than a decade. According to the Gallup Organization, the number of “actively disengaged workers” continues to be twice the number of engaged employees, defined as emotionally invested in their organizations.

Those engaged employees are the ones that work hardest, stay longest and perform best. Of the country’s roughly 100 million full time employees, an alarming 70 million — 70 percent — are either not engaged at work or actively “checked out”, Gallup found.

Harter believes employers need to shift their focus from pampering, which can create a sense of entitlement, to making employees feel like partners. A good manager drives that connection, he says. “If you’re offering perks and not putting energy toward hiring and developing excellent managers, you’re going about it the wrong way.” If a bad manager creates a disengaging environment, you can’t free lunch your way to engagement. “You can’t cover that up.”

To get the most from a worker, scrap the jeans day, forego the latte machines and think about what workers truly want to feel connected to their work and their company. In studying “Great Places to Work,’’ researchers found employees want to feel the work they are doing is important and to trust their managers care about them as individuals.

“Managers can’t forget that these are people who have a life outside of work they are actively trying to manage,” said Jessica Rohman, program director at Great Place to Work Institute. Even employees at companies considered great places to work report disengagement when bosses don’t understand how accommodating unplanned life needs affects work commitment. “It’s that understanding that fosters a sense of trust,” Rohman says.

Increasingly, employers are realizing that what attracts talent differs from what keeps strong performers engaged.

Working at a nuclear plant is more intense than a 9-to-5 job, but Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear power plant has lured 700 full time employees through benefits like on-site daycare, a fitness center, softball league, boat ramp and picnic area and a work schedule that provides every other Friday off.

FPL vice president Michael Kiley knows the benefits are just one component. An ongoing interest in employees’ career path and a sense of team work are what inspire discretionary effort from employees, he says. “They don’t want to let down their peers.”

Even financial incentives such as bonuses don’t have a long term affect on engagement, he has discovered. “Engagement is really about what you do every day to make employees feel part of a team. They need to know how they make that team better every day.”

Engaged workers are clear on expectations, feel accountable but also receive the freedom — possibly even flexibility — to get their work done, says Gallup’s Harter.

Beetson, DPR Construction’s regional leader in West Palm Beach, has found that to be true at her national commercial construction company. On each construction site, the manager discusses goals, inquires about expectations at home, and decides on work schedules that accommodate individual needs. “Letting the team work it out definitely helps with engagement,” Beetson says.

Get the formula right and workers at all life stages will stay engaged.

Ten months after giving birth to twin daughters, Jodi Santos says she remains among the 30 percent of U.S. workers who are engaged with their jobs. Santos, a nuclear oversight inspector at FPL’s Turkey Point, credits a combination of influences. She enjoys having her girls at the onsite daycare and uses the flexible work schedule that allows every other Friday off. She likes the camaraderie and team work that is encouraged through picnics and events.

But mostly, she stays engaged because her supervisor has worked with her to create a career path that allows growth while providing her work life balance. She recently changed departments to a quality assurance position that doesn’t require her to deal with middle-of-the-night emergencies: “I still have the feeling of being part of the big picture.”

Boosting engagement, particularly at stagnant organizations, is no easy task. But Gallup research shows attempting to reverse the worldwide trend is well worth the effort. Organizations are more profitable when their employees are more engaged, and employees benefit, too.

Gallup has discovered that engagement has a larger affect on employee well-being than any other benefits, such as wellness programs or vacation time. “Employees who are engaged are more than three times as likely to be thriving in their overall lives,” Harter says. “They are happier, healthier and more interested at work.”

 

 

June 20, 2013

Here's how to stop hating your job

Cropped photo
(Nicki Anders, Debra Lage and Heather Geronemus )


How do you feel about your job? A study, by Gallup, found most people are not exactly loving them.

Only 30% of American workers are engaged or enthusiastic about their job, the lowest score since Gallup began tracking the U.S. workers in 2000.  A whopping 70 percent of American workers are giving less than their best effort at work. 

Are you one of them?

Nicki Anders is not and she has advise for you haters.

Anders loves her job as VP of Customer Collaboration at Ultimate SoftwareIt helps that she works for a company that ranked #9 on the Fortune List of Best Companies to Work For 2013, a company that lives by the motto: "employees take care of employees." I heard Anders speak this morning at a meeting of Women Executive Leadership.

Anders pointed to us that sometimes, people aren't suited for the job they go after. For example, they try to advance to manager and discover they aren't passionate about managing. "That's a painful lesson," she says. 

To advance to the top, and be happy when you get there, you have to know what your definition of "the top" is and when to change your definition. "Getting to the top is a journey and people can get stuck doing the same thing too long," she says.

The best way to learn to love your job is to know what you are good at, know what you are passionate about and understand the economic model of combining those two things, she said. 

Consultant Shari Roth spoke up and said most of the time, when you ask people what they want from their careers, they are silent. They don't know and that's why they aren't happy.

"I didn't know what I wanted," Anders admitted. "But I was driven to figure it out."

Anders says people often enjoy their jobs more when they actually listen to others in their workplaces. "Listen voraciously," she advises. Rather than getting worked up over a co-worker's email, read it out loud and take the emotion out of it.

Another suggestion for making work more enjoyable: Seek growth opportunities. "Are you growing if you are never uncomfortable? No. Get comfortable being uncomfortable."

Some people spend hours at work, unnecessarily. Don't burn yourself out and hate your job because you're putting in long hours. Concentrate on results not effort, she says. And, know what's not as important. "Life and work are hard. We have 100 balls to juggle. We're likely going to drop 20. The struggle is figuring out which 20 to drop."

A key component of work life balance is feeling fulfilled at home AND at work.

Sure there are employers who can work harder to engage employees. But you can take control of your work life balance and figure out ways to enjoy your work life -- or start seeking other opportunities. 

Readers, if you're completely disengaged at work, is it too late for your employer to help you feel differently?

Check out where your state ranks: Gallup: Best and Worst States for Employee Engagement


May 02, 2013

Are companies really beefing up perks?

Employeebenefits

An article in the Sun Sentinel this morning says employers are beefing up perks to keep their talented rosters intact. One staffing recruiter said the pendulum has swung back and that bonuses are back in vogue. Another company said it's going to offer employees additional training.

To that, I say, "Hogwash!"

While some employers in very specific industries might be saying outloud that they are increasing benefits, I'm having trouble believing its true in most industries and for most businesses.

Is your employer becoming more generous?

To me, It just doesn't seem like the economy has come back enough for employers to want to take on any upfront costs for more or better benefits.

Just this morning, the Daily writes: 

Wondering why you haven't seen the performance you've hoped for from your 401(k) lately? A big reason may be that your employer is simply not putting what it used to into the account. 

One of the best perks of 401(k) plans is the matching contribution that employers traditionally make when workers save money in the retirement accounts. Yet these days, fewer companies are making 401(k) matches: The number of companies offering matching has fallen by almost 7 percent since 2009, according to a study from American Investment Planners. The trend of cutting back matching is just one way employers are taking the scalpel to their benefits budgets. The AIP study found that 6 percent of 401(k) plans have been terminated outright.

Are times changing after years of layoffs and high unemployment? Maybe a little, but not much. We know it's costly to replace an employee. I just don't think most employers believe they can't easily replace most workers -- not yet!

Of course, there are benefits that help retain top talent without a big investment -- smart employers have figured that out.

What are those perks?

Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, "Being compensated well will always be a top consideration, but we're seeking work-life balance, telecommuting options and learning opportunities outweigh other job factors when an employee decides whether to stay with an organization."

So readers, what are your thoughts? Do you think companies are beefing up perks? Do you think they have realized yet that they will need to do that to keep their good workers?

 

 

November 30, 2012

How to brand yourself as a remarkable employee

At some point or another, we all need a career boost. Whether you’re going into the dreaded performance review or need to find a new job, expanding and grooming your professional brand will always be a priority if you want to advance yourself.


But, how can you forgo the same tried solutions and become a remarkable employee? More importantly, how can you boost your career in the process, particularly in the eyes of a supervisor?


Today my guest blogger is Morgan Norman, CEO of WorkSimple, the social performance application that fundamentally changes the way employees and companies view performance and each other. You can connect with Mr. Norman and WorkSimple on Facebook and @getsimple on Twitter. As we close out the year, it may be the ideal time to put his tips to good use.

 

Morgan


 
1. Set a focus: Believe it or not, your manager may not know what you do on an everyday basis.
In fact, they may assume that you’re working on a certain objective when it’s been passed on to someone else or no longer relevant. You typically have four to five focuses, depending on your role. Setting concrete focuses and then assigning goals under that focus can give your manager the feedback they need, while at the same time cluing them in on why you deserve the promotion, salary bonus, or job. Setting a focus also lets your manager know what your strengths are — which, again, they may not be aware of.


2. Go visual: We live in a visual world, so why shouldn’t your work portfolio follow suit? A great way to showcase your work is to have a visual storyboard that tells your personal WorkStory. Plus, you no longer need to be a designer to build a biography of your accomplishments. Many platforms out there make it easy to showcase your work in minutes, helping you manage your own work portfolio. Additionally, visual storyboards can help you be that remarkable employee. First, your manager can see exactly what you accomplished, what you’re working on, and how you got there. Next, a visual element is much easier to relay than words on paper. After all, if there are visual elements in your portfolio, it makes your work exciting, which puts you on a higher plateau than your competition.


3. Tailor your content: When you’re in a room with a manager, do you think they want to hear about the work you did last year or the work you did last week? Probably the latter. By tailoring your content to what matters now or in the recent past, you give your manager insight on your current achievements and objectives. Think about setting a few focuses (as I stated above), and tailoring your content towards it. That way, your manager can see what you’re working on in real-time.


4. Share your accomplishments: Take control of your career by transforming
how you share work and capture your accomplishments. For example, you can create a work portfolio that allows your best work to shine. Further, you can also highlight your top five accomplishments and relay to your manager why hitting these goals made an impact on your company. When it comes down to it, you can’t transform team or company culture without sharing; it takes action. So take it.


5. Get feedback: Endorsements and recommendations of others can have a huge impact in your career. By getting that little check mark, your great work can shine across the organization. Anything from a LinkedIn recommendation to written praise by coworkers, managers, or partners can be that little push you need to be remarkable in the eyes of your supervisor.


What are some approaches you have used to position yourself as a remarkable employee?

 

October 31, 2012

Guess what American workers and bosses fear most this Halloween?

As we head into the final quarter of 2012, I'm sensing a lot of angst. People are fearful about the economy and they're uncertain about whether things are getting better. I asked American workers, small business owners and top execs about their biggest concerns and shared them with readers in my column today.....

 

I'd love to hear what concerns are on your mind!

 

Workplace fright grips South Florida workers

We asked South Floridians what scares them the most about the workplace and we asked experts how to manage those fears.

Get Adobe Flash player
 Rosie DeRosa and Alice Roque, owners of myCottera.com

Attorney Detra P. Shaw-Wilder

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

balancegal@gmail.com

            Behind the masks and scary costumes this Halloween are American workers with real fear about what the last few months of the year will bring.

Workplace fright has gripped everyone from top executives to desk clerks. It ranges from fear of being fired to concerns about hitting performance goals or losing business to a competitor.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there in this business climate and that has created a lot of fear,” says Ryan Skubis, Florida district director for staffing agency Robert Half International.     

      A new survey by Accountemps, a Robert Half company, shows it is not ghosts, goblins or even public speaking that scare workers most — it’s making a mistake on the job. This angst stems from scaled down workplaces where workers now do the job of two, three or four workers. “People are putting so much pressure on themselves,” Skubis says. “They have a lot on their plates and they don’t see a lot of hope for slowing down.”

An effective fear buster is open communication with a manager or client. Instead of hiding mistakes, a worker should feel it is okay to fess up, suggest ways to correct the situation or ask for guidance, he says. “Mistakes happen all the time. Even leaders make mistakes. It is how we go about fixing them that matters.”

At the top levels, executives say they fear falling short of year-end projections. In some businesses, profits in prior years came from cost-cutting. Now, with little left to cut, revenue increases depend on growth and in some cases, it’s not there. Alex Trujillo, a senior manager at a wireless company, says the year has been more volatile for sales than expected. Now, he’s worried people won’t spend in the traditionally stronger fourth quarter and shareholders will be disappointed. “It’s a realistic and widespread concern.”

Trujillo’s fear of disappointing numbers trickles down to managers at all levels in businesses, says Kathi Elster, a management consultant and executive coach. They are afraid of new management coming in and making changes. As companies try to rebound, some workers are concerned about a younger person with specific technological skills replacing them, Elster says.

Elster suggests managing this fear by staying ahead. “Get active in your industries, attend conferences find out what’s coming in your field and get trained in it.” You may have to spend your own time and money doing this, she says. “It’s your insurance policy. That’s the world we’re in today.”

 

Read more....

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/30/3074830/facing-workplace-fears.html#storylink=cpy

October 16, 2012

Why we're miserable at work. The reason might surprise you.

Lately, I'm starting to wonder about all the negativity I'm hearing about workplaces.

I've heard employees are whining, bosses are bullying  and workers are completely unengaged.

On top of that, employees are stealing each others lunches, sending curt emails, shooting down good ideas and sometimes even getting violent.  

What's going on? Are most people miserable at work?

Of course, not everyone is naturally cheerful. But what's making all of us so unhappy at the place where we spend a good chunk of our waking hours?

A new Study by TellYourBoss.com says our bosses are to blame. 

Bosses are leaving Americans feeling unappreciated, uninspired, lonely, and miserable, says the results of the study conducted by Michelle McQuaid, a consultant who offers positive psychology interventions in the workplace.

The study found that:

 •     Only 36% of Americans are happy at their job and 65% say a better boss would make them happier.

•     31% of employees polled feel uninspired and unappreciated by their boss, and close to 15% feel downright miserable, bored and lonely.

•     Only 38% of those polled describe their boss as “great,” with 42% saying their bosses don’t work very hard and close to 20% saying their boss has little or no integrity.

•     Close to 60% of Americans say they would do a better job if they got along better with their boss.

•     Close to 70% of those polled said they would be happier at work if they got along better with their boss, with the breakdown equal amongst men and women, but younger workers in their 20s and 30s skewed even higher (80%).

•     Over half  (55%) of those polled, think they would be more successful in their career if they got along better with their boss.

•     When stress levels rise at work, a disturbing 47% say their boss does not stay calm and in control. Although 70% of boomers polled say their boss doesn’t lose his/her cool in times of stress.

Most bosses are never offered training for skills required to succeed in their job...something to think about today, which has been declared National Bosses Day.

If you're not too fond of your boss, it might seem repulsive to kiss up. But you might want to consider doing something to improve your relationship with your boss because it most likely will help you better manage your stress. It may as simple as saying thank you as a response instead of grumble or you may want to consider using one of these 5 tricks to beat a bad boss.

Michelle McQuaid at TellYourBoss.com suggests trying to improve your relationship by telling your boss what your strengths are – the things you like doing and are good at - and suggest new ways to use these in your job.

Readers, what action will you take today? McQuaid is encouraging us to share our National Bosses Day action on social media #tellyourboss. I'm planning to tweet my plans @balancegal!

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